More Than a Cookbook: Three Generations Share Italian Recipes, Cooking Tips and Family Lore

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When Joseph Isadore Marinello was diagnosed with Leukemia and given just months to live, he embarked on a journey to record his life story and share his love of Italian cooking and gardening. When his daughters discovered those tapes ten years later, they were compelled to turn his magical tapestry of stories, tips, recipes and advice into a book that just rolled off the presses, La Cucina Marinello.

After Joe Marinello's three daughters listened to the audio tapes he recorded in the last year of his life, they embarked on a mission to share with a wider audience his love of Italian cooking, gardening, advice and recipes developed over three generations. This month, the sisters--Joan Bowman and Linda Carman of California, and Jeri Pederson of Oregon--saw the vision Joe recorded roll off the presses under the title La Cucina Marinello.

In creating La Cucina Marinello, Jeri, Joan and Linda expanded on the 30 recipes Joe recorded, each deriving her own personal joy from the project.

For Joan, it was bringing her father's conviction to life. "Dad believed anyone could be transformed into a confident Italian cook by following the classic techniques that he learned from his mother growing up Italian in New York," she said.

For Linda, it was all about celebrating the Marinello's rich Italian-American traditions of good food, close friends, and lots of love. "La Cucina Marinello is more than a cookbook--it's a celebration of how our family has used food to express our love and bring joy into each other's lives," she said.

Jeri found the project fed her passion for innovative cooking. "It’s the recipes that can be whipped up in a moment’s notice that hold particular appeal," she said, citing no-cook pasta recipes that can be prepared in a blender, Joe’s No-Cook Marinara Sauce, Roasted Peppers and Ricotta Sauce, and Basil Pesto Sauce.

La Cucina Marinello goes way beyond being a collection of family recipes. It is full of tips, techniques and innovations refined over many generations. The 120 easy-to-follow recipes -- most with full-color photos -- emphasize classic, authentic Italian home cooking such as Dad’s Sunday Sauce, Eggplant Parmesan, Italian Wedding Soup, Classic Lasagna, Penne Bolognese, and a variety of pizzas.

The sisters’ grandparents came from Naples and Sicily, both historically poor regions where local peasants perfected cucina povera cooking, which combines a few humble and inexpensive ingredients into dishes packed with flavor that take very little time to prepare. Joe learned these techniques from his mother who fed four hungry boys during the lean years of the depression and always bragged that they “ate like kings” even during those challenging days.

How to purchase
La Cucina Marinello retails at $19.95 and is available online at, by email:, and at these California and Oregon locations:


  • Porch in Carpinteria
  • Tecolote in Montecito
  • Chaucer’s and Carr Winery in Santa Barbara
  • DePalo & Sons in Shell Beach
  • Oso Libre Winery and Vivant in Paso Robles
  • Someone's in the Kitchen and A Great Good Place for Books in Oakland


  • The Kitchen Company, Oregon Books, Grocery Outreach, A Lasting Life Healing, Radiant Family, and Evangel in Grants Pass    
  • Rosella’s Vineyard in the Applegate Valley
  • Rods River Center Hair in Rogue River

About Joan Bowman
Joan lives in Santa Barbara, California and has been active in educational publishing and writing, revising the celebrated Choices Life Skills Journals and publishing Letters from the Heart for Girls Incorporated. She has a PhD in Human Development from Fielding Graduate University where she wrote extensively about family rituals and traditions as part of her research. Joan writes a food blog with Rhona Gordon: Much like La Cucina Marinello, their widely read blog focuses on the essentials of food and friendship, as well as celebrating Santa Barbara’s bountiful resources.

About Linda Carman
Linda is a successful software development entrepreneur and healthcare consultant who spends her spare time cooking meals for family and friends. When she isn’t in the kitchen, she enjoys time with her three children and two grandchildren who all live and work nearby in the San Francisco Bay area. Linda’s claim to fame is her “crowd cooking” repertoire which she is constantly expanding. She is currently developing a website,, with her friend Cindy Cathey that will offer a variety of cooking products, and chronicle their journey learning how to "cook from the soul."

About Jeri Pederson
Jeri moved to Grants Pass, Oregon in August 1980, and has called it home ever since. She has been in sales and marketing throughout her career: She launched her own design company, Geraldine J Designs; has managed sales teams in several companies; and has been a Realtor and Mortgage Broker in Grants Pass for more than 25 years. Carrying on the Marinello family legacy, Jeri is happiest when sharing her passion for improvisational cooking with family and friends. Jeri will launch a blog in January that will include a variety of new recipes featuring her improvisational cooking style and favorite kitchen tips.

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